The USF’s women’s triathlon team returned to action on Oct. 19, competing at the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon Central Regional Qualifier in Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia. The race consisted of a 750-meter swim followed by a 20K bike ride and concluded with a 5K run through the hills. USF’s team, which is in its first year at the University, competed against the other four Division I triathlon programs: Arizona State University, East Tennessee State University, University of South Dakota, and Wagner College.
After over a month off from their last competition, head coach Gina Kehr was optimistic about her team heading into competition on Saturday. “We were able to regroup the last few weeks and have come together socially, emotionally, and mentally, and we are excited about this weekend,” Kehr said prior to the event.
We were able to regroup the last few weeks and have come together socially, emotionally, and mentally, and we are excited about this weekend.Head Coach Gina Kehr
The Dons were paced by junior Katherine Badham, finishing with a time of 1 hour, 4 minutes, 13 seconds, which was a top 10 overall time on the day. She also placed top 10 times in biking (30:22:00) and running (20:23), the latter of which has been her best individual section. Bedham finished No. 8 overall on the leaderboards, with sophomores Elizabeth Moore and Hannah Weymueller finishing No. 17 and No. 25, respectively. Moore managed a top 5 time in swimming (10:32) while also finishing close to Badham in overall time (1:09:07 to 1:04:13, respectively).
Despite their exceptional individual performances, the Dons triathletes only mustered a fourth-place tie with Wagner College. Kehr, however, has been encouraged by the efforts of her team this year. “We have good downtime and we’ve got ourselves organized,” she said, adding that she believes the team has done an exceptional job of preparing for races and that this preparation has come through in the midst of competition.
“Any time you have races where you have to work through some challenges, you always come out better on the other end,” said Kehr. The Dons, who are all sophomores and juniors, have individually improved throughout their first season, with each triathlete improving in one of the events during the most recent meet. Kehr stated that she is excited to continue working with the athletes, especially Moore, who Kehr highlighted as “a leader on and off the racecourse.”
The Dons will continue their inaugural season next month at the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Regional in Tempe, Arizona on Nov. 16.